@Northern_Water Winter Water Efficiency Stakeholder Meeting set for January 15, 2019

Irrigation sprinklers run over a farm in Longmont in the South Platte River basin. Photo credit: Lindsay Fendt/Aspen Journalism

Here’s the release from Northern Water:

Northern Water allottees and other water efficiency partners within our delivery area are invited to join us on Jan. 15 in Berthoud.

The 2019 Winter Water Efficiency Stakeholder Meeting – which will take place at Northern Water’s headquarters (220 Water Ave. in Berthoud), and run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. – serves as an opportunity for all to learn and share innovative tools, techniques and policies needed for identifying, structuring and financing efficiency projects.

Our goal is to equip you with options to plan for and implement water efficiency, and attendees will also have the opportunity to share projects they have underway. We hope this will be a fun, informative and collaborative event. A schedule of the day’s events is listed below.

Lunch will be provided.

Be sure to RSVP by Jan. 8, which you can do by clicking here.
If you have any questions, please contact Lyndsey Lucia at llucia@northernwater.org, or at (970) 622-2342.

Fort Collins: 2019 Ditch and Reservoir Company Alliance Conference, February 13-15, 2019

Unlined water ditch in Fort Collins. (Photo by Tina Griego)

Click here for all the inside skinny.

Coyote Gulch outage #CRWUA2018 #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

I’m heading to Las Vegas for the Colorado River Water Users Association Annual Conference. Posting here may be intermittent.

You can follow along with the hash tag #CRWUA2018 or follow @CRWUAwater.

I love this conference. The networking opportunities blow me away. I’ll be up front in the sessions live-tweeting the goings on. Stop by and introduce yourself.

No longer a ‘boys club’: in the world of water, women are increasingly claiming center stage — @WaterEdFdn

Brenda Burman photo credit Wikimedia.

From the Water Education Foundation (Gary Pitzer).:

Western Water Notebook: since late 2017, women have taken leading roles at Reclamation, DWR, Metropolitan Water District and other key water agencies.

The 1992 election to the United States Senate was famously coined the “Year of the Woman” for the record number of women elected to the upper chamber.

In the water world, 2018 has been a similar banner year, with noteworthy appointments of women to top leadership posts in California — Karla Nemeth at the California Department of Water Resources and Gloria Gray at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

On the national level, Jayne Harkins was appointed in September to lead the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) for the United States and Mexico. And in July, Amy Haas was named executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, the first woman to hold that title in its 70-year history. They followed Brenda Burman’s appointment in late 2017 to become the first female commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in its 116-year history.

Women have had their hands in water issues for a long time, but their presence has been spotlighted by those key appointments and the understanding that in what’s traditionally been a male-dominated field, women are seizing the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and have their voices heard.

“Since 2001, when I arrived in California, I’ve met so many great women doing impactful work at the local, state and national levels, both in agencies and in the nonprofit and business sectors,” said Ellen Hanak, director of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center. “What’s really striking now is how many women are in leadership positions — a trend I hope to see continue.”

Women engaged in water policy issues say their work is a tribute to those who entered the field previously.

“There is a trend of more women going into the field of water policy/law because of a sustained effort by women who have pioneered going into this field to reach back and pull more women with them,” said Kim Delfino, California program director with Defenders of Wildlife and former California Water Commission member. “I think that the trajectory has been always pointed toward an increase in women coming into this field. It is now more noticeable because the numbers have finally added up to a more substantial showing. Further, social media makes it easier to communicate and show the numbers of women in the field of water.”

Click through for the great photo gallery timeline highlighting women in water.

The latest E-Newsletter is hot off the presses from the Hutchins Water Center #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Changes in the northeastern reaches of Lake Powell are documented in this series of natural-color images taken by the Landsat series of satellites between 1999 and 2017. The Colorado River flows in from the east around Mile Crag Bend and is swallowed by the lake. At the west end of Narrow Canyon, the Dirty Devil River joins the lake from the north. (At normal water levels, both rivers are essentially part of the reservoir.) At the beginning of the series in 1999, water levels in Lake Powell were relatively high, and the water was a clear, dark blue. The sediment-filled Colorado River appeared green-brown. To see the complete series go to: earthobservatory.nasa.gov/WorldOfChange/LakePowell. Photos via NASA

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s an excerpt:


A Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan to keep water levels in Lakes Mead and Powell from crashing has inched towards completion, as state agencies and key interest groups have endorsed the draft plan over the past month. Endorsing organizations include Nevada water agencies (as reported by the Las-Vegas Review Journal), the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado River District (despite some reservations, as reported by Aspen Journalism and the Grand Junction Sentinel). Arizona, typically seen as the lone potential hold-out among the states that share the river, has recently made major steps towards an agreement, according to the Arizona Republic. Earlier, the Desert Sun reported that a conflict in a California irrigation district could still complicate adoption of the agreement.

Western Slope Water Summit recap

Gunnison River Basin via the Colorado Geological Survey

From The Montrose Daily Press (Andrew Kiser):

Farmers have a taxing job growing crops due to water rights and, now, a multi-year drought, said Montrose County Commissioner Sue Hansen.

Those concerns were brought to the forefront during the Western Slope Water Summit — held Tuesday morning at the Montrose County Event Center. The group mostly discussed the water shortage and the drought crisis on the Western Slope.

Hansen said the county wanted farmers and producers to know about those challenges and about other potential obstacles under the new drought contingency plan…

As far as the effects of the drought, residents need look no further than the Gunnison River.

According to the Colorado River District, the river is snared between climate change-driven drought and overuse by the Lower Basin states to which a sure quantity of water must be transported each year, under the 1922 Colorado River Compact…

Andy Mueller, Colorado River District general manager, added the state’s farmers “are battling urban areas for their livelihood.”

“I think we, as an Upper Basin, need to put the hammer down and need to call them out in terms of what they’re doing,” he said.

Carbondale: Healthy Rivers Youth Water Summit recap

Mount Sopris and Hay Park via the @EcoFlight1 Wildlands set.

From The Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Thomas Phippen) via The Aspen Times:

The day-long conference featured student presentations, discussion periods where students talked to each other and the adults in attendance, and speakers including Christa Sadler, author of recent book “The Colorado” about nine eras of human interaction with the Colorado River.

The Pitkin County Healthy Rivers and Streams Program hired Sarah Johnson with Wild Rose Education to organize the event. Johnson began coordinating with teachers last spring to get the students to think about projects. During the fall, Johnson went to the schools to work with the students on the projects and teach basic river science.

“I facilitate a process where the kids get to understand that the things they care about are important,” Johnson said in an interview. “It’s not about what teachers care about, it’s about what students care about. What they care about and are curious to know more about, they can research, and form an opinion that’s based in evidence.”


Sixth graders at Glenwood Springs Middle School visited Mitchell Creek Fish Hatchery to collect samples of insects that live on or near the water, some of which are extremely sensitive to water pollution. The students found about seven species of macroinvertebrates, but the most common was the stonefly, which is extremely sensitive to pollutants and cannot survive in dirty water.

GSMS uses the Expeditionary Learning model. Researching river health through macroinvertebrates helped students get outside the classroom and learn about an important topic.

“I think it was really fun to be outside and do something active. I think that hands-on activities are more important than others,” GSMS sixth grader Max Mazur said.

The students concluded in their presentation that the river was healthy, but as student presenter Damien Christie said in the presentation, macroinvertebrates “can help us understand our rivers and ecosystems, they can show us that the environment is changing, and they can help us monitor climate change.”


A group of seventh graders at GSMS studied how restaurants affect the Colorado River, and the eighth graders made a video about climate change.

Coal Ridge High School juniors Aidan Boyd and Erin Flaherty presented an overview of the arguments for and against developing the South Canyon area near Glenwood Springs. They sampled the water of the creek and found dangerously high levels of E. coli and potentially harmful alkalinity.

Various proposals for South Canyon development include incorporating the natural hot springs into a resort and providing camping amenities, boosting tourism and allowing for the river to be cleaned up. But other groups wish the land to remain as open space…


The summit brought together students from Coal Ridge, Glenwood Springs High School, GSMS, Aspen High School and Carbondale Middle School. But the event was not just for middle and high school students.

Through EcoFlight, a conservation advocacy group that organizes flights throughout the West to examine watershed areas from above, students from Colorado Mountain College, Colorado State University, Colorado Mesa University, Adams State University and Western Colorado University shared perspectives from a three-day trip.

During the trip, the students met with farmers and local officials, Native American groups and conservationists, organized by EcoFlight program coordinator Michael Gorman…

Jonathan Williams, who studies environmental policy at CSU, found himself ready to step into an advocacy role after the three-day trip.

He was familiar with the Colorado River area after years as a river guide, but after “seeing it from above, and talking to the communities, in relatively quick succession,” Williams said he found that all the pieces came together and were pushing him to pursue conservancy…

CMC photography major Sarah Cherry said the trip gave her a concrete basis for pursuing conservation through art…


The thrust of the Youth Water Summit was to connect students and young adults to river issues, but the message was not one of strict conservation. The discussions ranged from what local politicians can do to improve water use to how community members and students can advocate for river health…

One potential shortcoming with events like the water summit and programs like EcoFlight, one audience member pointed out, is that participants tend to already be interested in environmental causes.